Spiderbot’s new dual extruder based 3D Printer

Spiderbot, a small French company has enjoyed popularity amongst private, academic and business customers with their current model of the SpiderBot Delta 3D printer. This printer can work with ABS en PLA materials and has a printing capability of 18 cm wide by 18 cm tall. It’s success is largely thanks to innovations to their original extrusion system. For while most printers include an extruder with six attachment points, their SpiderBot Delta on has three, thanks to their TSS system.

This system, short for Three Sphere System, consists of a combination of three spherical magnets and six carbon tubes that move the extrusion head with great precision. As two tubes are attached to one magnet, the support plate doesn’t tilt or wobble. Not only does this system allow for perfect positioning of the extrusion head, the magnetic connection can also be easily broken by applying the right amount of force, allowing for easy maintenance.

Now, Spiderbot is aiming to build a printer that transfers this effective method to a double extrusion system. And after almost a year of developing, designing and testing, numerous mishaps and 7 prototypes, they have settled for a particular system of rotating nozzles. This design aims to avoid any contact between the nozzles and the printed filament, even when they are rotating and switching positions. While some testing is still on-going, the innovative couple are confident that they will be able to release their latest model before the end of the year; the beta tests are already planned.

What is the new Innovation?

As explained by Spiderbot – “Important improvements have been made compared to a standard dual head and the earlier shown design. We discovered that the second head often touched the object when printing and even if you retract the material of the inactive nozzle, there is often a small amount of material on the nozzle tip that can leave traces, to prevent this, a radical design change was required, we came up with a completely new dual head with rotating support and inclinated nozzles, which will avoid the unused nozzle hitting the object during printing.

So effectively, when head #1 is printing material , the second head is rotated away from the print area and can’t damage or mark the object and vice versa, when head #2 is printing support material, head#1 will be rotated away. 

More information on this subject, can be found here.

Ricoh hopes to enter 3D printing market by 2016

Ricoh, Japan’s leading multinational imaging and electronics will set up two offices in Kanagawa Prefecture by the end of September, one in Yokohama and the other in Atsugi, to sell 3D printers supplied by global leader Stratasys, 3D Systems and others. Ricoh will also offer prototype services, where they use 3D printing to create objects based on customer data.

Ricoh hopes to bring its own 3D printers to the market in 2016. The printers are expected to be priced at around 5 million yen to 20 million yen ($46,900 to $187,670) and targeting at the small and medium businesses.

Ricoh aims to reach annual sales of $2.8 billion for its new 3D printer business, including its own products. The company said that it will start research and development of 3D printing technology based on its inkjet and other printing technologies.

Ricoh isn’t the only imaging and electronics company in Japan with big plans for 3D printing; both Canon and Seiko Epson plan to roll out 3D printers within the next five years. Canon has already developed a 3D printer prototype, and is pursuing a high-precision technology for producing complex shapes. Canon Marketing, part of the Canon group, has also joined 3D Systems’ network of resellers to market and sell its professional 3D printers, including its direct metal printers, in Japan.

Seiko Epson, a well-known brand for energy-saving and high-precision home printer, is likely working on developing industrial, multi-material 3D printers for commercial applications – such as in large-scale production environments. Epson expects that it will launch its first industrial 3D printer within 5 years.

Bill SB 808 on 3d printed Ghost guns, passed in california

In Sacramento, California, the senate bill SB 808 has been passed by both the Assembly and the Senate, and has now been sent to California Governor and Democrat Jerry Brown for review. Bill SB 808, that was introduced by Democratic State Senator Kevin de Leon, aims to update existing firearm legislation to ensure that so-called ‘ghost guns’ are subject to similar legislation as ‘traditional’ firearms.

These ghost guns can currently be constructed in the privacy of your own home using 3D printers, but are as potentially lethal as other firearms. Their existence became worldwide news in 2013, though various examples are currently floating around the internet. Most of these can be relatively easily made from various plastic construction materials and printed on common 3D printers like RepRap or Makerbot.

The SB 808 bill aims to severely restrict those practices, however. As State Senator and driving force behind this bill, Kevin de Leon, explained on his website:

SB 808 holds those assembling personal guns to the same standard as all other gun owners by requiring a background check, a serial number to be obtained from the Department of Justice, and the gun must be registered with the Department of Justice. In order to receive a serial number, a self-made or assembled firearm must include permanent metal components that cannot be detached and that are detectable as required by existing law.

The bill will thus try to bring these weapons and their owners out of the shadows, and in that it is part of a growing effort throughout the world to pre-empt the spread of these home-made and undetectable firearms. The past few months, we have reported on various governmental crackdowns on 3D printed guns in, for instance, Japan.

However, The US’s current federal legislation concerning 3D printed guns – the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988 – has been renewed unchanged in 2013. That legislation does make it illegal to own firearms that can slip past metal detectors, but does not include any provisions on the manufacturing of plastic firearms. California lawmakers are thus trying to go one step further than existing federal legislation through their introduction of registrations and background checks.

The exact amendments that this bill would make to existing gun legislation in California can be found here. Senator Kevin de León explained his motivation for curtailing 3D printed weapons on his website: “Technological advancements require that we update our laws to meet new and growing public safety concerns to make sure dangerous individuals cannot manipulate technologies at the expense of public safety.”

As this is bill isn’t law yet, it remains unclear how 3D printed guns will be exactly regulated. Nonetheless, California’s lawmakers hope that they will able to play a leading role in curtailing illegal guns throughout the United States. Amanda Wilcox, who is part of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence applauded their intentions, stating that, ‘It is essential that self-assembled or manufactured guns be regulated. Assembling rifles from “partial receivers” to evade the background check and record requirements threatens public safety. We applaud the legislature for addressing this problem.’

Kwambio 3D design platform

A new platform called Kwambio , founded by Volodymyr Usov, Kwambio is a community for people who’d like to create different customizable products (lamps, vases, coat-hangers, etc.) and share them with the world.

Designers can come to Kwambio and make money from every creation. They can securely sell their original products, without worrying about piracy. Nobody else will have access to their source files. Each product will be carefully verified and tested by the Kwambio team prior to be listed on the platform.

Platform users can customize and personalize products with a few clicks of a button. They will have options to change the product shape, and add any text to the design. The platform is anticipated to stream data directly to user’s 3D printer, in a few clicks anyone can create their own beautiful, unique design. “No two persons are similar, so should be the products.” notes Kwambio.

There are five main categories of products on the platform: design, fashion, gadgets, decor and art. At the moment users can find more than 20 different products (vases, coat-hangers, lamps, etc.) which can be modified into an innumerable quantity of goods.

It’s designed to be a creative community where everyone becomes a creator. Users can like and share products created by others, they can also follow their favorite designers to discover new unique products.

For the first few months the platform will be free to use, but eventually users will pay per print. The beta version of kwamb.io will be launched in October 2014

Worlds first rapid 3D nanoscale printer for nano tech research

A new AU$30 million research facility at RMIT University in Melbourne will bring to Australia the world’s first rapid 3D nanoscale printer.

The new MicroNano Research Facility (MNRF) was launched last week by Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Margaret Gardner AO. Professor Gardner said the opening of the state-of-the-art laboratories and clean rooms was the start of an exciting new chapter in cross-disciplinary nano research.

“At the heart of the MicroNano Research Facility’s mission is bringing together disparate disciplines to enable internationally-leading research activity,” she said. “RMIT has long been a pioneer in this field, opening Australia’s first academic clean rooms at the Microelectronics and Materials Technology Centre in 1983.

“Over three decades later, this investment in the world-class MNRF will enable RMIT’s leading researchers to continue to break new ground and transform the future.”

Among the equipment available to researchers in the 1200 square metre facility will be the world’s first rapid 3D nanoscale printer, capable of producing thousands of structures – each a fraction of the width of a human hair – in seconds, RMIT said.

The MNRF also offers researchers access to more than 50 cutting-edge tools, including focused ion beam lithography with helium, neon, and gallium ion beams to enable imaging and machining objects to 0.5 nm resolution – about 5 to 10 atoms.

Director of the MNRF, Professor James Friend, said 10 research teams would work at the new facility on a broad range of projects, including building miniaturised motors to retrieve blood clots from deep within the brain, which will enable surgeons to perform minimally invasive procedures on people affected by strokes or aneurysms. The team will also improve drug delivery through the lungs using new techniques that can atomise large biomolecules – including drugs, DNA, antibodies and even cells – into tiny droplets to avoid the damage of conventional nebulisation, RMIT said.

“This facility is all about ensuring researchers have the freedom to imagine and safely realise the impossible at tiny scales and beyond,” said Friend.

“Having access to purpose-designed laboratories and leading-edge equipment opens tremendous opportunities for RMIT and for those we collaborate with, enabling us to advance the development of truly smart technology solutions to some of our most complex problems,” he said.

The new Mercedes S Class (2018), may feature 3D printed components

Car manufacturers are always trying to include as many of the latest technologies in the design of their latest models as possible, and it looks like 3D printing is not going to be an exception. For German giant Mercedes, following in the footsteps of their American competitors Ford, have speculated that 3D could be extensively used to design interiors in the near future.

Whats Cooking ?

In an interview concerning their progress on the next generation Mercedes S-Class vehicle, Mercedes’ chief designer Jan Kaul hinted that the new car, that is projected to be made available in 2018, could include a whole load of new innovations, such as gesture controls and infotainment tablets, and also 3D- printed components. Mercedes is looking to rebuild their reputation for beautifully-designed, slick and smooth interiors – which has recently been the forte of Audi and Tesla – and key to this seems to be lightweight, single piece and trim fittings and details throughout the car, and in this, 3D printing could be instrumental.

However, at this point in time Mercedes’ chief designer will not go any further than speculation, as it also news to be financially viable. When asked about the potential of 3D printing, he responded positively, but emphasized that “this is a question of margins – we must be making [thousands of these]components to be sure the quality and cost [is viable].’ Small, intricate components and details like air vents, dashboard features and speaker grills could benefit from 3D technology to make them stiffer, lighter and easier and quicker to manufacture.

This is all we have at the moment, but stay tuned for more news

HP to enter 3D Printing Market soon…

Hewlett Packard, one of the leading manufacturers of Computers and peripherals is all set to enter the marketplace of 3D printing, by the fall of 2014. HP has nearly 40% of market share of 2D printing, so it is a natural progression for HP to enter into 3D printing business. As a lot of core patents have expired or are expiring this year, it will be a good timing for HP to enter the market so they won’t have to spend time and huge amount of money on developing the technology.

HP is one of the largest computer companies in the world, with 317,000 employees and $112 billion in annual sales. In the past years, Meg Whitman – Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – HP, has focused on reducing costs and has now returned the company to profit. HP has also focused on introducing new products, such as water-cooled servers and 3D printers. Whitman announced earlier this year that company is planning to enter the 3D printer space by the end of this Fiscal year (31st October.), so many people have been waiting for HP’s entry into this market.

Meg Whitman said HP’s in-house researchers have resolved limitations involved with the quality of substrates used in the process, which affects the durability of finished products. She said that the company is solving a number of technical problems that have hindered broader adoption of the 3D printing process, including the slow speed at which things print, and the quality.

Is this the first Announcement?

This is however not the first time, HP has decided to foray into the 3D printing market. The company had an agreement in 2010 to market HP-branded Stratasys 3D printers, but the deal dissolved in 2012. More recently, HP has provided inkjet print heads to Z-Corp, a 3D printing company that is now owned by 3D Systems. Meg Whitman also acknowledges that 3D printing as an industry has some areas it needs to improve before it goes main stream. She further pointed out that the quality of the 3D prints were not as good as it should be, however, she also noted that HP’s late entry into the 3D printing market may be a turning point, as she thinks HP has been able to finally solve the above problems. Although Meg Whitman, did not disclose exactly what is the “Big announcement”, but she did say that whatever HP offers will focus on large scale manufacturing primarily, before HP enters the consumer 3D printing market.

“We think the bigger market will be in enterprise space, that is, helping companies manufacture parts and test prototypes rather than helping regular folk’s 3D print Hershey Kisses at home.” said Meg Whitman, President and CEO of Hewlett-Packard.

French Man uses 3D printing to steal money of innocent ATM users

A man in southern France used 3D printed fake cashpoint facades and stole thousands of euros from bank users. The thief, named Hamid P, used the 3D printer to make fake fronts for ATM machines which could clone the card details of other people. He was recently arrested with his girlfriend at his home in Marseille.

The case is dated back to September 2013 when Caisse d’Epargne discovered two false fronts on bank machines in the towns of Nimes and Saint-Ambroix, Southern France.

Skimmers (credit card readers) which register card details were found behind the fake machine fronts. The machine would then dispense cash as normal, so nobody was aware that their bank details were stolen. A local policeman said: ‘The fake fronts were of a good quality and were different to those we normally see.’

Hamid P was on the run with €30,000 of stolen money before the bank discovered the fake fronts. The fact is, he had made a mistake by using his own card in one of the machines to test whether it worked. Police then tracked him down, and when they found the 3D printer at his home he admitted to the scam. He has been charged with fraud. Back in September 2011 an American gang was prosecuted for stealing more than $400,000 using the same 3D printed fake ATM fronts. And in 2013 Sydney police reported that a gang of suspected Romanian criminals used 3D printers and computer-aided design (CAD) to manufacture ATM skimming devices to steal Sydney residents’ funds.

Aerojet Rocketdyne gets U.S defence contract

Aerojet Rocketdyne announced on August 18, 2014 that the company was recently awarded a contract by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base through the Defense Production Act Title III Office. Under the contract, Aerojet Rocketdyne will make parts ranging from simple, large ducts to complex heat exchangers, and include metals such as nickel, copper and aluminum alloys. The program scope is expected to replace the need for castings, forgings, plating, machining, brazing and welding.

The contract will secure multiple large selective laser melting machines to develop liquid rocket engine applications for national security space launch services. Aerojet Rocketdyne and its subcontractors will design and develop larger scale parts to be converted from conventional manufacturing to 3D printing.

“We have developed and successfully demonstrated additive-manufactured hardware over the last four years but the machines have been limited in size to 10-inch cubes,” said Steve Bouley, vice president of Space Launch Systems at Aerojet Rocketdyne.

“These next generation systems are about six times larger, enabling more options for our rocket engine components. We are extremely honored to have received this contract, and foresee the day when additive-manufactured engines are used to boost and place important payloads into orbit. The end result will be a more efficient, cost-effective engine.”


U.S. Army using 3D printing to create safer helmets

Using 3D printing technology, ARL researchers are developing the skull simulant using synthetic materials. Researchers have used images from a CT scan to get the geometry and structure of the skull right, and will use these images and 3D printing technology to produce models of bone-like surrogates which will be used to test new helmet padding materials in simulated blast and impact conditions.

U.S. Army helmets provide the best known defense against ballistic weapons but no one knows how well they can stand up against combat’s shock waves. Army Research Laboratory scientists are using different approaches to study the impact of shock waves inside, on and outside of the skull, and one of them is 3D printing.

In a battlefield, high-order explosive such as C4 or TNT produces overpressure shockwaves and can cause significant brain injuries. To discover how, and to what degree, these waves cause brain damage, and what’s needed to make Army helmets go beyond protecting the head to protecting the brain, ARL researchers are creating synthetic cranial bones that look and behave like the skulls of 20- and 30- year old Soldiers. These synthetic cranial bones will be tested in laboratory experiments that mimic combat-like blast events to develop new prototype of military helmet pads, shells, and other protective equipment.

More information on this latest development, can be found here.